photo-1460400408855-36abd76648b9Now that it’s starting to be the dog days of summer, and many of you are out on vacation (me included – I wrote this post in advance!), it can be easy to let your content slide a little bit. “Nothing is going on,” “Everyone is away,” “I’m too busy,” “I don’t feel like it” – do any of those excuses sound familiar to you?

But the warm weather is no reason to let your content slide. If you stick to your editorial calendar, not only will you continue the momentum that you’ve started this year with strong, substantive work, but you’ll also stand out in a sea of people who are letting their content slack in the summer.

But it doesn’t mean that you always have to be coming up with something new and fresh – sometimes, you can revisit some of your old content, freshen that up a little bit, and repackage it in a way that doesn’t require you to invest too much time away from the pool or the beach, but still maximizes your efforts. Let’s look at two ways you can liven up old content this summer. 
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photo-1458724338480-79bc7a8352e4If you produce content – for example, you write a blog, author articles, post tweets, create videos, write LinkedIn posts, etc. – you’ve probably heard or read at some point that it’s a good idea to connect with “influencers” in your industry to extend the reach of your content. “Influencers” are those who are perceived as leaders within your industry, and as such, have the power to affect what others are reading, watching, and talking about. In talking about what’s called “influencer marketing,” Andrea Lehr of the Content Marketing Institute tells us that

Influencers work hard to cultivate relationships and maintain their position as a leader within their niche. Partnering with influencers in your industry helps get your message in front of the right audience and accelerates conversions.”

Sounds great, right?

But how do you figure out who those influencers are?

In her article, Lehr talks about two pieces of advice, and a note of caution, to help you to identify the influencers in your area of expertise. She and her team focused on marketing when they undertook this exercise, but it will work for your area of expertise as well – note that where you focus will be impacted by what your content marketing goals are. So, for example, if your goal is to reach more clients and potential clients, then you’ll want to focus on the client profile when looking for influencers – if you’re a corporate lawyer who helps entrepreneurs, your influencers will be found among the entrepreneur community, not other corporate lawyers. But if your goal is to become a respected thought leader among corporate lawyers who help entrepreneurs, then your influencers will be found among other corporate lawyers. The more specific your goals are, the easier it will be to define your potential influencer pool.
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photo-1429962714451-bb934ecdc4ecFor the last two weeks, we’ve look at four different ways to bring a WOW factor to your content marketing – in the first post, we focused on content, while in the second post, we looked at email marketing. In today’s post, we’re going to wrap up our WOW series, and look at two final action steps you should be taking when it comes to your content marketing, and these focus on your audiences. We talk about audience a lot here on Zen, and especially about checking in with them, ensuring that the content that you’re delivering is the content that they want. These are two different audience angles/tactics to consider taking.
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photo-1460804198264-011ca89eaa43Last week, we talked about two steps to bring the WOW factor back to your content marketing. Continuing with that theme, and the post that inspired it, we’re going to look at two more actions that those of us producing content for law firms should be taking to make sure that we’re wow-ing with our email content.

Step One: Give More Attention to Your Client Alerts

In his post, Pulizzi says:

Give more time and attention to your newsletter. Is it truly amazing or is it something your customers consider ‘salesy’ or spam? Of all the subscription options we have with our customers, including all social channels, email is where we have the most control over messaging.”

While he’s talking about newsletters (and you can certainly apply this advice to any newsletters you’re producing as well), I’d like to concentrate on the client alert, as it’s something that continues to get attention. Why is that? 
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photo-1463453091185-61582044d556Taped to my computer monitor, I have a set of photobooth photos from last years LMA New England conference, which include the conference theme: “What’s Your WOW Factor?” As much as I enjoy seeing the photos of my friends and I from the conference, the theme itself is a constant reminder to be asking myself that question as I undertake my daily tasks – “What’s my WOW Factor today?”

In today’s post, I want to look at two steps that law firms should be taking right now in their content marketing (as part of a series of posts), thanks to this piece from the Content Marketing Institute by Joe Pulizzi. These steps, and the ones that follow, have me thinking about that very idea – what’s our “wow” factor when it comes to content marketing – because in the end, that’s what it’s really all about. The thing that makes our audiences sit up and take notice of what we’re putting out for their consumption.

Pulizzi sets up his post by saying that these action steps are reminders to keep us on track in our content marketing – and I love that idea. We can easily get bogged down in the day to day nitty gritty that we lose sight of the forest for the trees. So action steps such as these are a way to pause, take stock, and ensure that what we’re doing with our content is effective and valuable, so that we’re getting the most for our efforts. And in a time and in an industry where we don’t want to waste any efforts, that’s essential. 
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photo-1450609283058-0ec52fa7eac4Last week, we looked at one of the entries that had been submitted and won for this year’s Your Honor Awards for the Legal Marketing Association. I liked the concept so much that I want to take the opportunity to do it again, this time with one of my other favorite entries: K&L Gates LLP’s “Australian Open – Building Brand Awareness for a New Entry Down Under.”

I know a thing or two about events, because we put on a lot of them for the ILN, so I love getting the chance to see what other firms and organizations are doing with theirs. A lot of firms and companies tend to stick to sort of the same script, so when an event stands out like this one did, it was easy to get excited. You’ll notice if you look at the overall winners for the YHA that there was only one awarded in events, and that was first place to this entry – there was good reason for that.

It wasn’t an inexpensive endeavor – the event was a sponsorship of the Australian Open, to highlight K&L Gates’ breaking into the Australian legal market. But the two takeaways I have for you have nothing to do with having a big budget. So whether you’re a small firm or solo or a mega firm, you can take these to heart for your next event to help bring it to the next level. 
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photo-1422480415834-d7d30118ea06Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of serving as a judge for the Legal Marketing Association’s Your Honor Awards. These awards are the “longest-running annual international award program recognizing excellence in legal marketing,” and it’s the second time I’ve been able to serve as a judge. I enjoy it not only because of the camaraderie among my fellow judges, but because I get to see some of the smartest work in the industry, and get a sense of how firms and other professional services organizations in the legal industry are meeting the challenges that we face every day.

When we judge the selection of entries, we’re each given a few categories that we’re responsible for scoring, based on a list of criteria, and then we get together for a weekend in early January to review the entries with our fellow category judges, and then as a group. We then award first, second, third, and honorable mention as appropriate – and we have the option to award no prizes at all if we don’t think the entries are worthy, so when an entrant wins a prize, they really deserve it. 
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photo-1447069387593-a5de0862481eEvery time I want to learn something about content marketing, I look to Neil Patel, co-founder of Crazy Egg, Hello Bar, and KISSmetrics, and author for the Content Marketing Institute. In one of his latest posts, Patel addresses “How to Fix the 4 Biggest Problems with Content Writers.” Since it’s a Two for Tuesdays post, it actually works out well that I only want to focus on two of his four identified problems, and translate them over for the legal industry. 
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photo-1416453072034-c8dbfa2856b5Although social media has been around for a while (and isn’t going anywhere), there’s still this idea in the legal industry and even among many legal marketers that it’s a game, or a waste of time.

But social media, when used strategically and correctly, can actually be about relationship-building and business development.

I could go into a long diatribe about why this is true, what the statistics say to support it, or even start a series about the various tips and tricks you could be using in your own practices for better use of social media – but I won’t.

I will say that, like any other marketing tactic, it’s not for everyone. It’s a tool to be considered and used as part of your overall arsenal, if and when it meets with the goals that you’ve set out and the strategy that you’ve developed. Just as importantly though, don’t discount it as being “for kids” simply because it’s something that you’ve seen your own children using, or you think it’s only big with celebrities, or you’ve heard that it’s somewhere that people can waste hours.

No one embraced the telephone right away either, and now you keep one in your pocket.

(And if people are determined to waste time somewhere, they’ll find a way to do it, whether it’s on Facebook, or on personal calls, or playing games on a non-internet connected device).

All of that being said, this week, I’d like to talk about two concrete ways that social media can work for you – specifically and successfully.

Tip One: Blogging as a Relationship Builder

Kevin O’Keefe of LexBlog has long espoused blogging as more than just a platform for putting your thoughts down on paper, so to speak. If used strategically, it’s actually a way to meet the people that you want to meet. Let’s look at an example – in January, I blogged about Two Tools to Turn Trends into Topics, which was based off of a blog post written by Ann Smarty over at the Content Marketing Institute. I often look to CMI for inspiration when I’m blogging, and it’s the second time I’ve referenced Ann in a post that I’ve written for Zen – she writes good stuff.


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5cde60f6Seeing Jabez LeBret at last week’s Legal Marketing Association Annual Conference reminded me that I needed to catch up on my Legal Coffee Break podcasts – if you’re not yet familiar with it, the Legal Coffee Break podcast is a concise, less than ten-minute, update on legal marketing, technology, and other issues in the legal industry, hosted by GNGF founders Mark Homer and Jabez, with Jabez being the primary voice to this point.

Episode 26 discusses two things that are important to lawyers, and how they have changed with the advent of technology: referrals, and first impressions. Since Jabez talks about issues that I regularly address with my own lawyers, this one particularly stuck with me. 
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